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Bosch, BASF invest in quantum computing startup Zapata

Robert Bosch Venture Capital GmbH (RBVC), the corporate venture capital company of the Bosch Group, has completed an investment in Zapata Computing’s Series A round. Comcast Ventures together with Prelude Ventures are leading an US$21-million round. It includes participation from new and existing investors including Pitango Ventures, BASF Ventures, Pillar VC, and The Engine.

Zapata Computing, founded in 2017 and based on technology developed at Harvard University, aims to be the market leader in quantum algorithms and software, providing a complete toolset for solving large optimization problems on near-term quantum computers.

Quantum computing is a next-generation approach to computation that utilizes the laws of quantum mechanics to increase the speed of certain calculations. While quantum computing has great potential, it is currently limited by the pace of hardware development.

A classical computer uses many bits (“0s” and ”1s”) for calculations. A quantum bit (“qubit”), like the bit in classical computing, describes the state of the smallest unit used for calculations. A qubit consists of two quantum states, e.g. the electron spin that can have two directions. These qubits can be combined in a way that they contain much more information than the same number of classical bits. By this “superposition” a quantum computer can work much more efficiently than a classical computer in certain important applications, e.g. materials modeling, optimization, machine learning.

Zapata’s hybrid quantum-classical approach is designed to elicit the maximum value from the limited number of qubits that will be available in the next few years.

With RBVC’s experience and expertise across a breadth of business sectors and innovations, we’re looking forward to helping accelerate Zapata’s progress. Zapata’s quantum computing algorithms have the potential to accelerate developments in Bosch relevant fields such as material science.

—Dr. Ingo Ramesohl, Managing Director at RBVC

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We are happy to support this promising start-up. Zapata is positioned to add value to a wide variety of industries, including chemicals, pharmaceuticals, automotive, aerospace, and finance. Zapata will fill a growing demand for quantum solutions that address key issues its customers are facing.

—Markus Solibieda, Managing Director at BASF Venture Capital

With growing customer demand, Zapata is developing hardware-agnostic solutions, implemented on the latest quantum hardware made by Google, IBM, Rigetti, Honeywell, IonQ and others. Zapata holds an exclusive license to a portfolio of quantum algorithms from Harvard University. Zapata is also a founding member of the Quantum Industry Coalition, an industry group instrumental in driving the bipartisan passage of the National Quantum Initiative in the United States.

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